Bishop Gorman’s girls volleyball team won its first Class 4A state championship in 2016, and brought back a majority of the production from last year’s team.
But the Gaels didn’t have the best squad in Las Vegas — let alone Nevada — on Saturday night.
Gorman breezed its way to the championship match of the annual Las Vegas Invitational at Foothill High School, but settled for second place after a 25-22, 26-24 loss to Los Angeles’ Bishop Alemany.
Gaels coach Ed Van Meetren gave his team a spirited pep talk after the game, and said the tournament helped it discover some of its strengths and weaknesses.
“We needed to find out where we are at,” Van Meetren said. “That was a very good team. Can’t take anything away from them. … That’s why we’re here, to find out what we need to get better at.”
And according to Van Meetren, it’s serving and returning.
The Gaels were brilliant when they were accurate with their serves and returns and capitalized on long volleys with ferocious kills from their front line. But they also had lapses and mishits during key points of the match and recorded several unforced errors.
The Warriors took control early and fended off Gorman’s rally midway through the first set to take a 1-0 lead. The Gaels were marginally better in the second set and held a 24-23 advantage, but Alemany reeled off three consecutive points to clinch the tournament championship.
Gorman sophomore Tommi Stockham had a team-high eight kills. Seniors Ashley Brennan and Kylie Gibson finished with six kills apiece.
“It was a back-and-forth match,” Van Meetren said. “Our serve-receive breakdowns were the difference. They didn’t have as many. … It happens.”
Gorman had played just one match before the two-day tournament and beat local foes like Cimarron-Memorial, Liberty, Palo Verde and arch-rival Shadow Ridge to earn its showdown with Alemany.
Brennan said playing in the Las Vegas Invitational was “amazing” and was pleased with how the Gaels performed in their first tournament.
“We did an amazing job. We had a couple errors at the end,” she said. “We all worked together. We fought hard, and I truly think (the Warriors’ victory) was luck. … We fought until the finish.”
High Sierra Tournament
Merrill F. West (California) rallied for a 25-16, 19-25, 15-13 victory over Faith Lutheran in the Bronze championship of the High Sierra tournament in Reno.
Lindsey Langridge led Faith Lutheran with 11 kills and two blocks. Ashley Harrison added seven kills, and Kyrie Lorfing had 11 assists and 10 digs for the Crusaders.
Faith Lutheran 2, Del Oro (Calif.) 1 — At Reno, Ellie Fried had nine kills, and Hailey Carroll added eight kills and four aces to power the Crusaders to the victory.
Mary Vancura added 18 assists, and teammate Alexi Johnson had 12 digs for Faith Lutheran.
Faith Lutheran 2, Harbor (Calif.) 0 — At Reno, Fried and Katie Walo each had six kills to lead the Crusaders to the win.
Vancura added 19 assists and three aces, and Johnson had 13 digs for Faith Lutheran.
Faith Lutheran 2, Reed 1 — At Reno, Sydney Washington had nine kills to power the Crusaders over the Railroaders, 25-21, 21-25, 15-6.
Lorfing added 11 assists, four aces and eight digs, and Langridge had seven kills for Faith Lutheran.
Vancura added 13 assists for the Crusaders.
Galena 2, Faith Lutheran 1 — At Reno, the Grizzlies topped the Crusaders, 25-20, 21-25, 15-10.
Washington led Faith Lutheran with nine kills. Vancura added 13 assists, and Maggie Skinner had nine digs for the Crusaders.
Nevada Union (Calif.) 2, Faith Lutheran 0 — At Reno, the Crusaders fell, 25-18, 25-19.